Amateur Radio Station WA2FNQ

The Upstairs Station

The Old Upstairs Station

Let me first just say this entire project was my wifes idea. And a good idea it was. All I had in the bedroom prior to this was my ICOM IC-Z1A dual band HT and a 40 watt amplifier which was mounted on top of a 10 amp power supply. The antenna was an ANLI AL-800 mounted on the amplifier so the amplifier was never used. I could somewhat work 2 meters and 70 cm FM. That was it. Well... that wasn't good enough for my wife. She thought I should have the ability to get on all bands without having to go downstairs. And besides, she likes to listen too. So we purchased a second hand ICOM IC-706MKIIG in almost brand new condition and I set about building a small station.

One of the requirements of the upstairs station was that it should have an audio chain that approximated the audio quality of the main station. So I purchased another Marshall MXL 2003 condenser microphone along with a Behringer UB802 mixer and a Behringer MDX1600 compressor/limiter. The compressor/limiter was placed on top of a Sony boom box that was on my night stand. A shelf was placed on top of the compressor/limiter and the rest of the equipment. and other night stand things, were placed on the shelf.

The microphone was connected to channel 1 of the mixer and equalized using the mixer tone controls. The mixer fed the left channel of the compressor/limiter and the output of that fed the input of the right channel compressor/limiter. The output of the right channel compressor/limiter fed both the microphone and external audio inputs of the IC-706 which could be selected by a switch. The detector output from the receiver was wired to the headphone monitor on the Behringer mixer allowing both speaker and headphone operation at the same time. This is important when you want to use headphones but the wife wants to listen too.

The antenna for 2 meters and 70 cm was still the ANLI AL-800 so I could only operate low power on these bands. For HF the wife and I put up a 40 meter dipole. Tuned feeders allow operation on 75 meters. On 160 meters both sides of the feedline are shorted together and the antenna is fed as a 1/8 wave 'T'. The antenna tuner is a small MFJ Versatuner.

This is what the old set up looked like on the night stand. Operation on 160 meters required getting around the back of the antenna tuner and switching the feedline around. To my surprise 160 meters actually worked well and 2 meters got used regularly. But over all this was not an easy station to operate. The wiring was a mess and the whole thing just wasn't neat. My wife suggested that everything would look neater if it was in a nice looking rack. So I set out to clean up my act in the bedroom by building something better.

The New Upstairs Station

This is what the upstairs station now looks like. Eveything is mounted in a Middle Atlantic rack and the night stand is now void of all Amateur Radio equipment. On top of the rack sits the microphone, antenna tuner, H.T., and IC-706. At the top of the rack is a Belar modulation monitor for use on HF AM. It gets its RF from a sample port that was added to the MFJ antenna tuner. Relays were also installed in the MFJ antenna tuner to switch the antenna from a balanced feed to the 1/8 wave 'T' configuration for 160 meters. Now it's a push of a button instead of fiddling with the wires around the back of the antenna tuner. Located on the shelf below the modulation is the Behringer mixer, transmit switch and the power supply for the IC-706. Under the shelf is a Behringer V-Verb reverb, the Behringer MDX 1600 compressor/limiter and a Behringer 15 band graphic equalizer. The next shelf holds the Johnson Mobile transmitter for AM and the 10 amp. 12 volt regulated power supply with the presently unused 40 watt 2 meter amplifier bolted to its top. Auxilary equipment and power supplies are located behind the blank panel. At the bottom of the rack is a Realistic STA-111 receiver identical to the one in the downstairs studio.

These are some close up pictures of the rack.

The 2 meter/70 cm antenna has now been mounted on the top of a pole outside the house. It was a Diamond CR 320A tri band mobile antenna mounted over a ground plane. I say was because during final assembly the antenna fell off the work bench breaking one of the traps. Fortunately it was the one used to make the antenna operate on 220 MHz, a band that I don't have in this station. So with a little re design and tuning the antenna is now just a 2 meter/70 cm antenna.

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